Heliophysics Technology Program

The 2013 Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) Decadal Survey calls on NASA to venture into transformative technologies and capabilities. Specifically, the development of new and innovative means of pursuing grand challenge science is critical, taking full advantage of the progress that comes from collaborations between theorists, modelers, computer scientists, and observers.

In response to the Decadal Survey and the 2019 Congressional mandate, the Heliophysics Division established a Technology Program. The future success of Heliophysics depends on the ability to produce novel and transformative technologies, capabilities, and mission concepts. The Heliophysics Technology Program strategically invests in the development and demonstration of instruments and technologies to enable infusion into future missions. Investments in new technologies will enable previously infeasible science investigations; improve existing measurement capabilities; reduce the cost, risk, and/or development times for Heliophysics science instruments and advanced space missions of the future; and yield applications benefits to the broader economy in areas of strategic importance such as space weather.

The Program includes elements which are competitively selected through the NASA ROSES solicitation: ROSES B.8 Heliophysics Technology and Instrument Development for Science (HTIDeS) and ROSES B.10 Heliophysics Flight Opportunities Studies (HFOS). In addition, the technology program includes competitively selected rideshare and hosted payload technology demonstrations.

In 2022, the Heliophysics Division created the Heliophysics Strategic Technology Office (HESTO) to help manage the heliophysics technology program. HESTO will work closely with the Sounding Rocket Program, and Balloon program which manage the flight technology maturation efforts, as well as with the Small Satellite and Special Projects Office that assists SMD with managing small satellite missions.


The Heliophysics Strategic Technology Office (HESTO) aims to enable novel and transformative new capabilities and mission concepts in Heliophysics by expanding the limits of what is measurable, observable, and achievable. HESTO partners with researchers and scientists to help solve technological challenges inherent in space-based observations to better understand our heliosphere and the dynamic, interrelated systems contained within it.

HESTO’s purpose is to:

  • Actively manage and support the Heliophysics technology portfolio from early development, maturation to infusion.
  • Engage with and expand the Heliophysics technology community
  • Identify technology gaps and trends to guide future investments
  • Support the SMD HPD in implementing the Technology Program

The Heliophysics Technology program invests in technologies through an open and competitive solicitation process that provide grants to universities, corporations, and other institutions to explore new instrument designs and technologies.

NASA's heliophysics Strategic Technology Office (HESTO) is soliciting feedback from the community through a Technology Working Group (TWG) made up of heliophysics community members from academia, industry, and other government agencies. The purpose of the TWG is to provide feedback on HESTO’s performance and plans, and to provide an open and collaborative forum to engage, inform, and solicit feedback from the heliophysics community, and to encourage partnerships with the technology community. The TWG will meet at least once per year and will provide a formal report to be made available publicly. The Charter for the working group can be found here.

Technology Solicitations

The following solicitations are generally released every year on February 14.

Invests in early investigations of heliophysics mission concepts with emphasis on small satellite missions which may be subsequently proposed to the Heliophysics Flight Opportunities for Research & Technology (H-FORT).

Duration: Up to 1 year

Funds the development of new instruments and technologies to enable investigations of key heliophysics science questions. Also supports supports laboratory studies that probe fundamental nuclear, atomic, and plasma physical processes that support spacecraft observations and atmospheric models relevant to Heliophysics.

Duration: Up to 3 years

Other relevant investment vehicles include the Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science Technology (FINESST) which funds graduate student research projects that contribute to SMD's science, technology, and exploration goals and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) which funds research, development, and demonstration of innovative technologies that fulfill NASA needs.

Technology Gap and Trend Analysis

The first Heliophysics technology gap and trend analysis has been completed, and can be found at https://zenodo.org/record/8091762

Technology Highlights


2023 NASA Heliophysics Technology Symposium

Dates: 18-19 October, 12:00-5:00pm ET daily
Join us for the first Annual NASA Heliophysics Technology Symposium to learn about the technologies and mission concepts that are being funded by the NASA Heliophysics Strategic Technology Office (HESTO). Our Principal Investigators will present on their projects and take questions from the community. Attendance is open to everyone.

For more information, contact HESTO

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